A brand-new children’s library is set to open in Manchester this week, thanks to a unique partnership between the city council and Hulme based charity Z-arts.
Manchester Libraries have worked with Z-arts – Manchester’s dedicated venue for children and families – to help them re-imagine a space in their beautiful Edwardian building that was previously unloved and unused, and turn it into what is now a welcoming Children’s Library for the city.
Children who already take part in activities at the venue have also played a vital part in helping to re-imagine the space and turn it into the kind of library they would like – a library where children and families can read, imagine, connect, create, and have fun.
The opening of the new library comes as the city celebrates Our Year – a year dedicated to children and young people, and to providing them with new opportunities to help make up for everything they missed during the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic.
Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: “This is a brilliant addition to our library offer for children and young people in Manchester.
“Z-arts already provides amazing opportunities within the arts for our young people and we’re very grateful to them for having a look at what they do and deciding to go the extra mile to help support the city’s Our Year campaign and to make an even bigger difference to children and young people, by donating space within their building to help further fire young people’s minds and imaginations.
“We applaud them for their ongoing commitment to helping children in Manchester grow and learn by experiencing the arts and culture, and for working with us to help create this brand-new library for children and young people from across the city.
“Come along, have a look, and get stuck into a good book!”
The new library occupies a dedicated space on the first floor of Z-arts and features a bright and colourful design that was co-created with children and their families, brought to life by talented designer and craftsperson, Louise Ryder.
The library will be home to hundreds of books celebrating diversity and is designed to meet the reading needs of children from birth through to teenagers, with dedicated sections for pre-school, primary, and secondary school aged children.
It includes a creative space for making and homework, as well as comfy seating, and all the Z-arts much-loved elements including its cafe and a guaranteed warm welcome.
In-person story time sessions and other activities are also being developed and are set to begin soon after the library opens.
Saskia Metcalf, Head of Creative Development at Z-arts, said: “We’re really thrilled to welcome families to our new Children’s Library.
“The space is a vibrant, kid-friendly and kid-focused destination in the heart of Hulme that the Manchester community can visit and enjoy.”
The library opens its doors for the first time to children and families on Saturday 15 October at 9:30 am.
Monday – Friday: 9.30am – 6.30pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 4.30pm
The library is free to join and can be used by anyone who lives in the UK and has a Manchester library card. Get a library card, which can be used at all libraries in the city or speak to the team on reception at Z-arts or any other city library.
The new library at Z-arts has been created with the support of Manchester City Council, the Arts Council, and Foyle Foundation, with additional support from Torevell & Partners and Johnsons Paint.